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64 miles per gallon in the near future?

Transonic Combustion

Credit: Transonic Combustion

Here’s some encouraging news on the fuel-efficiency front.  A post from MIT’s Technology Review details the results of tests using a new way to improve fuel efficiency, resulting in dramatically improved gas mileage without significantly adding costs to new vehicles.

Transonic Combustion, a startup based in Camarillo, CA, has developed a fuel-injection system it says can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by more than 50 percent. A test vehicle equipped with the technology gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving, which is far better than more costly gas-electric hybrids, such as the Prius, which gets 48 miles per gallon on the highway.

The key is heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber, says Mike Rocke, Transonic’s vice president of business development. This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle. The company also treats the gasoline with a catalyst that “activates” it, partially oxidizing it to enhance combustion.

Transonic is currently testing with 3 auto manufacturers and plans to introduce this into production as early as 2014, just a few short years away.

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